Things really get moving at the Lodge in May. Opening day this year is May 31, and we will use every single one of the days leading up to that point to get ready. Spring-cleaning is the name of the game this month. Getting the Lodge prepared for opening is like having 25 vacation houses that lay dormant all winter, and then need to be ready all at the same time. We lean heavily on our local cleaning crew, with a great group of workers from Warrensburg getting the job done. They start cleaning the rooms the first week in May, and aim to have everything ready to go by the 31st. Rooms don’t necessarily get dirty over the off-season, but they do get dusty and stale. The spring cleaners toss each room and dust all surfaces, before putting the rom back together. Then Carla steps in and hangs the curtains and checks for details. Jerry and Rick tackle any little fixes that may be necessary, before the regular summer cleaning crew comes in and does a final makeup on the accommodation. Some years the process goes very smoothly and quickly. Other years it does not. But the result at the end of the month is always the same – Beautiful guestrooms ready for arrival!
Maintenance also kicks it into high gear in May. The water systems are turned on and tested. Depending on how we did in the fall draining the system, and how cold of a winter it was, we will find a few leaks and repair them. Emergency systems get their annual testing and certifications. The grounds take much of the month to come into shape. Hopefully April allowed us to clean up the large debris and such, and we then spend May mowing, sweeping, cleaning, shining, and putting things back to summer locations. Memorial Day Week is when all of the flowers on property are planted. Geraniums, Petunias, Vinca Vine, Spikes, Impatiens, and herbs for the Chef are potted and placed around property.
The Chef takes about 2 weeks to prep the kitchen, start staff, and begin serving food. It’s always a big day on property when the kitchen first puts out lunch for the staff! And that first time the smell of cookies wafts out of the windows isn’t so bad either.
The boats are launched in May. Most of the boats are stored in the Lodge boathouses. These are lowered into the water with hand powered chain falls. The motorboats are easy. You drop the boat and turn it on, done. The sailboats offer a bit more of a challenge. These are lowered into the water and then towed up to Yankee Marina. There we use a roof-mounted crane to hoist the mast off of the deck and into the vertical position. Cable stays are secured from the top of the mast to the deck of the sailboat, and tensioned. At this point the boat is almost ready to go. We take the sailboats on a few test voyages to check all the systems and make sure they are perfect. Lucky is the boatboy who gets “take the sailboats for test sails” duty!
April is a tough month in the Adirondacks. The winter has ended, and all of our thoughts move to spring, and warm sunny days. Unfortunately, the weather most often times does not cooperate. There is almost always snow during the first week of April. All we want to do is get outside and start the work of cleaning up property and making the Lodge look beautiful again, but the snow piles and freezing temperatures won’t let us. Today is a great example of April on the Lake. We woke up to temps in the upper 30’s. It has rained almost an inch already. The ice on the lake is suspect enough to keep the fishermen off, but thick enough to cause damage should the wind start to move it. The rain is good, as it will help to melt the ice and weigh it down. But we are always at the mercy of the wind when ice out occurs. If the wind is blowing towards us, the boathouse and docks will most likely suffer some damage, and possibly severe damage. If the wind is blowing away from you, you watch through binoculars as other lake occupants suffer the same fate and hope for the best.
April also brings with it mud season. The ground is frozen through most of the winter. And this year it froze very solid. As the daily highs edge upward, the ground starts to thaw. But this happens at the surface first, with a frozen layer underneath. No moister on the top layer can drain downward, and is therefore stuck in the top few inches of earth. This makes mud, and sometimes it’s quite the quagmire anywhere off of paved paths. Many a sneaker has been ruined by ground that was frozen solid when you first walk on it in the morning, yet by early afternoon is a few inches of mud. It’s everywhere. Spots that get lots of sun will dry out pretty quickly. Dark areas stuck in the shade all day may take a week or more to dry out. Mud is just another fun part of life in the Adirondacks in the spring.
But April does provide us with hope. Days are getting longer, and the sun is stronger. Reservation questions and inquiries have leveled off in the office, after the hurricane of activity that February and March are. Yard cleanup tools and tractors are ready to go on that first 60-degree day. All of these April showers, be they rain or snow, will make late May flowers. Thoughts of summer start to take over in our heads, of swimming in the warm lake and sailing in a perfect wind. I can hear the dinner bell already, and it’s time for Boat Boy Steaks! See you in a few months!
Winter arrived early at Lake George this year. December was a very cold month with a couple of good snowstorms as well. The Lake froze over in late December, almost a month earlier than normal! A number of good snowstorms gave us a great early season snowpack. We even woke up on Christmas morning to almost a foot of fresh snow.
January started out cold as well, and then we had the first thaw of the season around mid month. One day of 60 degree temperatures and steady drizzle erased most of the snowpack, but the ice held firm. Cold days and snow returned at the end of the month, setting up for a good Ice Bar Season and Lake George Village Winter Carnival.
Ice Bars have become very popular as the region tries to become a year round destination. Bolton Landing, Diamond Point, and Lake George Village hosted a number of Ice Bars the last few weekends of January, and the first weekends of February. Sitting on an ice stool, at and ice bar, with a great specialty drink, while looking at the Lake is a great way to spend a 15 degree day!
The weather cooperated with the Winter Carnival very well this year. All of the classic events were able to be held on the ice, including outhouse races, car races, motorcycle races, helicopter rides, ice skating, diving exhibitions, and everyones favorite weekly event the Polar Plunge. It is worth experiencing winter on the Lake at least once to see this spectacle
We are in the heart of the reservation process at the Lodge. It was great to hear from so many returning guests looking to book for the 2018 season. It’s fun for us to hear of so many “countdowns” that have already started to arrival day at Canoe Island Lodge! We have also booked in many new guests, ready to experience their first visit to the Lodge, hopefully a start to years of family memories.
It will be summer before we know it. We look forward to warm, sunny days spent sailing and relaxing lakeside. And we look forward to welcoming you to the Lodge! See you in a few months!
The tradition of a photographer at Canoe Island Lodge goes back many years. I remember Bob Edwards taking pictures of my family in the 80’s. There is a pile about two feet thick of CIL photos in my house, separated by folders and marked by year.
Liz is our current house photographer. She has been with us for about 15 years, and is part of the Canoe Island family. Tom and Carla ran into Liz while riding a ski gondola out west. Liz was a photographer from Vermont, who had been working around Lake George and was open to new opportunities. Tom and Carla just happened to be searching for a new Lodge photographer. That twelve minute gondola ride is all it took. Liz comes up midweek to shoot candid photos, and takes family portraits on Thursday and Friday nights (weather permitting out on the Island for Thursday night BBQ). She displays the photos on Saturday morning for purchase on the front porch. Some guests even plan ahead and have Liz take their holiday card photos. We did last year, and the results speak for themselves, as you can see…..
June 19th started our official summer season. We welcomed Marc and Mary Hilderbrand for their 55th year at Canoe Island Lodge! After the Americade Motorcycle week, a few nice conferences and some beautiful lakeside weddings it is always great to get back into our regular
summer activities, including meals, boating, and kids activities. The end of June doesn’t have the usual mandatory weekly stay, so many guests make it in for a long weekend or just a few days. As with all of the weeks in the summer we do have a core crowd of returnees, many of whom have eclipsed the 20 year mark at the Lodge. It really is like having our extended family visit, and it is wonderful to see so many generations return year after year.
Our private Canoe Island, located ¾ mile off-shore from our main Lake George resorts, is a special treasure. While the island is a quiet getaway, we also have the beach on the mainland as well as many activities for the whole family. For your convenience, our private resort shuttle boats make scheduled trips back and forth to and from the island to your Lake George lodging.